Julie Wyman: Learning to coach, and listening to the Scrum team’s needs

As we move from our mentoring/training stance, to more of a coaching stance, we need to be mindful of the team’s own journey. In this episode, we talk about the transition that Julie was going through, from mentoring to coaching, and how the team reacted to her change. Listening to the team, and learning what is the right stance to take is critical for Scrum Masters. 

About Julie Wyman

Julie Wyman has been working with Agile teams for over a decade and is continuously learning with and from them. She’s based just outside Washington, D.C., but has had the pleasure of supporting teams distributed across the globe and even experienced her own Agile takeaways all the way in Antarctica.

You can link with Julie Wyman on LinkedIn.

BONUS: Social Complexity and the work of the Scrum Master with Jurgen Appelo and Ari-Pekka skarp

Social Complexity is a topic that does not get enough attention in the Agile community. Even if Social Complexity has been studied for a long time and has a significant influence on the study of groups, and society at large, we seem to have dropped it, or even missed it’s importance in the world of Agile.

Agile organizations, and agile teams are a prime subject for the use of tools and methods from Social Complexity research. So what do we need to learn from that field in our roles as Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches

What is Social Complexity? A primer for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches

Continue reading BONUS: Social Complexity and the work of the Scrum Master with Jurgen Appelo and Ari-Pekka skarp

BONUS: Rahul Bhattacharya on what do on your first 90 days of a scrum master for a new team

We start this episode by talking about why it is important to have a specific focus on your first 90 days when working with a new team. The first 90 days are all about setting yourself up for success, and that requires that you take certain actions. 

Start preparing before you start helping

Rahul suggests that we start preparing for our new role as a Scrum Master by asking specific questions (even in the job interview if that’s the case). Rahul suggests that to understand the expectations placed on you, you must understand what others have done before, what the team might be struggling with, but also how the context around the team works. What are the hierarchies, what do the team expect the Scrum Master to do, and more!

Do the Gemba: a critical step for your success as a Scrum Master

The gemba (a term from Lean that means “the place where the work happens”) walk is all about seeing with your own eyes, and talking directly to the people that you will be working with, or that your work will depend on. It’s important for Scrum Masters that are getting started that they not only talk to the team, but also to the stakeholders of the team, and possibly other teams that represent dependencies for the team you are trying to help. 

See the system: looking beyond software development

Finally, the third step in this structured approach to the first 90 days with a new team, is all about what’s around the team that you need to deal with, even if it is not at the core of what the team does. This is “the systemic view” or context for the team. Rahul shares some critical questions we should ask ourselves (and those around the team), so that you can understand what kind of pressure and expectations are placed on the team.

Mega tips to close off this episode (make sure you listen all the way to the end) 

Once we review the 3 main activities to prepare your Scrum Master assignment successfully, we dive into some of the tips that Rahul has collected over the years as an Agile Coach and Scrum Master. Rahul shares some critical insights that will help you overcome the most common challenges Scrum Masters face when taking on a new team. 

To know more about Rahul’s approach, check out this article for Agile Coaches and Scrum masters called “Needs-oriented model of Agile Coaching”

And check out Rahul Bhattacharya’s podcast, The Agile Atelier

About Rahul Bhattacharya 

Rahul Bhattacharya is currently working as an Agile Coach at Delivery Hero. He is responsible for optimizing the ways of working within the organization, coaching others on best practices while simultaneously guiding teams working on different products. Rahul is passionate about constant learning through experimentation and feedback

You can link with Rahul Bhattacharya on LinkedIn and connect with Rahul Bhattacharya on Twitter

And check out Rahul Bhattacharya’s podcast, The Agile Atelier

 

BONUS: Building and growing an Agile Coach community in your organization, with Samantha Corbett and Jeff Campbell

Jeff is the author of Actionable Agile tools (available on Amazon, and direct from the author at bit.ly/aatbook).


The Agile Coach team, at that time, had 9 people. And they all saw different problems in the organization. They struggled with slow decision making, problems at the team level, but when it came to seeing solutions, they all saw different approaches. 

Over time, they recognized they needed to coordinate their work to be successful. If nothing else, because several teams needed to be involved in solving some of the problems the organization was facing. 

The coaches started asking themselves: “Are we really performing as a team?”

This was what started the need for regular collaboration between the coaches. 

At first, they started by having a regular get-together with the team of coaches. 

Helping the organization see the whole, even when tackling local problems

Continue reading BONUS: Building and growing an Agile Coach community in your organization, with Samantha Corbett and Jeff Campbell

BONUS: Platform teams, how structural changes improve outcomes in Agile organizations, with Jeff Campbell and Simone Sciarrati 

Jeff is the author of Actionable Agile tools (available on Amazon, and direct from the author at bit.ly/aatbook).


In this episode, we discuss how the way we organize teams can impact the effectiveness of an organization. Jeff and Simone share the journey of a team, how it changed, and how that team structure change affected not only the team itself but also the organization around them. 

Simone shares that, at Meltwater, they try to focus on “empowered product teams”, and how that differs from most team setups. 

We refer to the book Inspired by Marty Cagan, and how that book influenced their view on how to organize and structure product development teams. 

The first problem they tackled was the Product Owner being an outsider to the team. 

Making the Product Owner, a first-order citizen in an Agile team

Continue reading BONUS: Platform teams, how structural changes improve outcomes in Agile organizations, with Jeff Campbell and Simone Sciarrati 

BONUS: Peter Oliver-Krueger and Michael Dougherty on shifting from “product” to “people” centric practices in your Agile adoption

Download the first chapters of the book Shift: From Product to People at: https://bit.ly/shift_book

If you have already accessed the book, you can log back in at: https://www.oikosofyseries.net/login

Peter and Michael just finished the first half of a book they are writing together on the topic of shifting our attention, and focus from the “product” focused techniques to “people” focused techniques in order to achieve superior performance. 

The first four chapters of the book are freely available here. Sign-up to get the first four chapters today.

Listen to the podcast with Peter and Michael in the player below, and check out the show notes with the details of the topics discussed.

The third wave of Agile adoption: People focus

As Peter and Michael describe it, we went through different phases of Agile adoption in the industry. The first phase was a move away from projects and into a “product” thinking approach to software development. The move to focus on people is according to Peter and Michael, the third major shift in our industry.  Continue reading BONUS: Peter Oliver-Krueger and Michael Dougherty on shifting from “product” to “people” centric practices in your Agile adoption

BONUS: Aino Corry on how to prepare for and facilitate for Distributed Retrospectives

Scrum Masters all over the world make a significant effort to get better at facilitating retrospectives… Until they have to host a Distributed Retrospective. At that point, we learn that all you learned about facilitating retrospectives is still useful, but not nearly enough!

Preparing, hosting, and facilitating a Distributed Retrospective is a completely different challenge.

The 4 things that you need to make Distributed Retrospectives work

Continue reading BONUS: Aino Corry on how to prepare for and facilitate for Distributed Retrospectives

Product Owner coaching challenges for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches

As part of our “Coach Your Product Owner” course, we’ve been hard at work creating simple and actionable tools you can use to help your Product Owner progress. But that coaching cannot happen unless we tackle the biggest problems we have when coaching Product Owners. So, last week I asked people who receive my Newsletter to help me answer this question:

When it comes to Coaching and Supporting your Product Owner(s), what is the single Biggest Challenge that you are facing right now?

The reason for this question is my belief that, as Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches, we must help the Product Owners as part of our duties. Sometimes those duties may be just about helping them manage/facilitate a particular session, but often we need to help the Product Owner grow their skills, knowledge, and experience with Agile product development. All aspects of it.

So what are the key challenges we face, when coaching and supporting our Product Owners?

Read on to find out…

Click to learn more about how you can help your PO

Continue reading Product Owner coaching challenges for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches

Product Owner Anti-Patterns, and how Scrum Masters can help overcome those

Product Owners have an impossible job! I know, I’ve been a Product Owner. And even worse, a Product Manager transitioning to Product Owner! And even worse! I was also the Project Manager. Geeez! When I look back I am amazed I survived that phase of my career.

Here’s the kicker, that was the best time of my Agile adoption journey. I got to see my ideas come to life so quickly! And have a concrete business impact (the product we delivered went on to generate 10 Million Eur in sales a little over 3 years).

My Product Owner journey towards Agile was not easy! Let me tell you how I survived that stressful time, and lived on to learn a lot from the experience.

Continue reading Product Owner Anti-Patterns, and how Scrum Masters can help overcome those

Angel Medinilla from Project Manager to Agile Coach

We all transition from different roles. Some of us start as developers or testers or other roles and end up working with teams as Scrum Masters. Angel shares his journey from Project Manager to Scrum Master.
We also mention how to tackle the presence of laggards, people who are not ready to adopt agile because of their fears and anxieties about the change.

About Angel Medinilla

Ángel Medinilla (Spain, 1973) has 18+ years working experience in the ICT market. In 2007 he started his own Agile Consulting firm. Today, Proyectalis is considered the leading Agile consulting and coaching company in Spain, and one of the most well-known in Europe and Latin America,
He is a regular speaker at Agile conferences all over the world
He is the author of Agile Management (Springer) and “Agile Kaizen: Continuous Improvement Far Beyond Retrospectives’ (Springer). He also contributed to Beyond Agile: Stories of Agile Transformations, (Modus Cooperandi).
In 2015 he co-founded Improvement21, whose goal is to bring the continuous improvement habit to all kind of organizations in order to create better cultures, teams, processes and products.
You can connect with Angel Medinilla on LinkedIn, and contact Angel Medinilla on Twitter.